Efforts by the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to develop the tourism sector of the State of Osun through Public Private Partnership is beginning to yield positive result, as both Sterling Bank Plc and Union Bank have pledged to place Osun atop the list of the states to benefit from their huge financial support for massive transformation of culture and tourism in the country.
Already, a delegation led by an adviser to the African Union and Consultant to the partnering banks, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye, had commenced an inspection tour of tourist sites in the State with a view to exploring the possibility of immediate investment in the sector.
Speaking during a courtesy call by the delegation from African Union, Continent Building Initiative, Goge Africa, Sterling Bank and Union Bank on Governor Oyetola at his office on Wednesday, Akinboboye said the choice of Osun as one of the benefitting states, was based on its rich culture, attractive tourist sites and the business-like presentation by the state through its Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Adebisi Obawale when he visited the team in Lagos.
Akinboboye, who disclosed that both Sterling and Union banks had earmarked the sum of N15billion as initial commitment to the development of culture and tourism in the country, noted that Osun with all its attractive tourist sites stood a better chance to benefit immensely from the gesture than any other state.
He expressed satisfaction with Governor Oyetola-led administration’s level of commitment to rejuvenating the tourism sector, just as he assured that Osun will top the list of the benefitting states.
Akinboboye said, “Africa has not been able to compete with other continents of the world in spite of its relatively huge size. We have stunning sites waiting to be transformed to attractive destinations.
“Efforts to build the Africa we want is ongoing. And this has to be done through tourism. We therefore aim at forcing all the leaders in the continent to focus on culture.
“The State of Osun has it all. Sterling Bank has earmarked a sum of N5billion for capital tourism creative development as a starting commitment as it is willing to give us more while its Union Bank counterpart has equally set aside a total sum of N10billion for the same purpose.
“All of us were highly impressed by the presentation by the Osun Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Bisi Obawale and this is the reason we decided that the State is the first to visit.
“I am very pleased to state that all the attractions visited are quite good. I can see the desire in the impressive disposition of Mr. Governor and his team. In my 37 years in this industry, I have never seen this level of commitment.”
In his remarks, Governor Oyetola said the administration would hold tenaciously its vision to create wealth and enhance the standard of living and the general well-being of the citizens through the development of infrastructure, agriculture, mining and tourism.
He added that his administration was investing heavily on infrastructure development as part of efforts to make the State attractive to investors in these critical sectors.
Oyetola expressed delight at the pledge by the two banks to invest huge amount to the tune of N15billion as initial commitment to the advancement of culture and tourism in the country, adding that the gesture was in line with the vision of his government to develop the sector through Public Private Partnership.
“I have always believed that our tourism can only be driven by private sector. We are lucky to be the custodian of the cradle of Yoruba race, which is Ile-Ife. This makes Osun a place to be when it comes to culture. We have seen it before now and I am happy that we have seen people who will make us realise our dreams in tourism. We thank the Sterling Bank, the Union Bank and all other bodies that have shown interest in the development of our culture and tourism.
“We are ready, willing to support in whatever forms to see this through. We are investing heavily in infrastructure to make our State attractive to investors. With this highly welcome development, it is clear that all the good things desired for this sector is beginning to bring the desired result and success is assured,” Governor Oyetola added.
In attendance at the courtesy visit include: the Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi, Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola, Deputy Chief of Staff, Prince Abdullahi Binuyo, Head of Service, Dr. Festus Oyebade, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Adebisi Obawale and Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Engr. Lekan Badmus.
Others are Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Prof. Olalekan Yinusa, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Adeleke Adebayo, Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Jamiu Olawumi, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Transport, Olatoke Olaniyan and Professor Niyi Akinanso among others.
Though, this is not first time investors have come up to show interest in developing and partner with the state government on culture and tourism, but now that involved notable bank’s in Nigeria opinions say this may work out.